Trans

Justice Department Tells Prisons to Take Gender Identity Seriously

Prison and jail policies "must allow for housing by gender identity when appropriate" say new federal guidelines.

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Orange is the New Black

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered U.S. prisons and jails to stop ignoring gender identity when assigning inmates to male or female units. Although federal regulations already require this, many places still have blanket policies of housing transgender inmates based solely on their genitalia, according to The Guardian

Since 2003, when George W. Bush signed into the law the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), jails and prisons have been required to make decisions about housing transgender and intersex inmates on "a case-by-case basis"—although implementation of the regulations didn't happen until 2012. The regulations stipulate that decisions must be made based on "whether a placement would ensure the inmate's health and safety," "whether the placement would present management or security problems," and "a transgender or intersex inmate's own views with respect to his or her own safety." 

Asked recently whether "a policy that houses transgender or intersex inmates based exclusively on external genital anatomy" violates the law, the feds said yes. "A PREA-compliant policy must require an individualized assessment," and this assessment "must consider the transgender or intersex inmate's gender identity–that is, if the inmate self-identifies as either male or female."

This needn't be the sole determinant, however. Recognizing that the decision is "complicated," the DOJ guidance says that policies "may also consider an inmate's security threat level, criminal and disciplinary history, current gender expression, medical and mental health information, vulnerability to sexual victimization, and likelihood of perpetrating abuse. The policy will likely consider facility-specific factors as well, including inmate populations, staffing patterns, and physical layouts. The policy must allow for housing by gender identity when appropriate." 

Adam Frankel, coordinator of Human Rights Watch's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program, told The Guardian this isn't enough. Federal guidelines should "prohibit these kinds of dangerous placements, which … create an extraordinarily high risk for transgender people in prison and blatantly disrespect their gender identity," he said. 

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics data, trans inmates are sexually assaulted while imprisoned at much higher rates than others. The 2014 National Inmate Survey showed that around four percent of state and federal prisoners and 3.2 percent of those in jail were sexually assaulted between 2011 and 2012. But for trans inmates, these numbers jump to 34.6 and 34 percent. 

Other rights groups applauded the DOJ move. A joint statement from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Just Detention International said the new guidance "sends the clearest message yet that current housing practices in prisons and jails are in violation of PREA" and "makes clear that housing transgender people based solely on sexual anatomy is not 'case-by-case.'" 

"This guidance states what should be obvious, except almost all our state and local governments are getting it wrong," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. "Housing transgender people based on body parts rather than who they are is dangerous and at odds with PREA. That means housing someone as the gender they live as has got to be on the table every time, and it should be the rule rather than the exception."

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  1. …although implementation of the regulations didn’t happen until 2012.

    That’s quite a cooling off period.

  2. Okay, really serious question. What sane person would try to transition in prison. Lay off the drugs, get a sex appropriate haircut, and just pass until you get out. A couple years of body dis-morphia won’t kill you, but switching in prison very well could.

    1. Assuming sanity is your first problem. Seriously, my FIL is a guest of the state for stealing a good chunk of change from his employer, he can pass for sane often, but he lives in his own reality that only occassionally intersects with what is actually happening. He really isn’t lying when he tells you things that aren’t true, but its a bad idea to believe him. Luckily I have 6-8 years to prepare for this and my wife is leading the charge on not trusting him.

      1. Ah true, criminals don’t tend to be the sharpest crayon in the box.

  3. current gender expression

    “Whatever gets me TFO!”

  4. I love that we are locking these people in cages, but there is concern over whether enough respect is being shown to their gender identity. Physical safety makes sense, but the other part of this argument is just downright ridiculous when you stop to think about it for even a moment. It’s a symbolic fight for everyone involved. Like the leftists who pat themselves on the back for getting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed. They couldn’t care less about gays in the military, but it’s another step in having their narrative enforced by government.

  5. these people are mentally ill and should be put into mental institutions.

    1. Cool story, bro.

    2. … they’re already in prison

      1. Maybe he’s talking about the DOJ.

  6. Bold move

    I wonder if the prison system will be able to weather the storm of social justice. What a colorful disaster this will be if they cannot.

  7. when appropriate

    What does this mean?

    1. Prison Counselor: Why do you say you feel “trapped” in a man’s body?

      “Trapped” Convict: Well, sometimes I get them menstrual cramps real hard.

  8. Wont the recently discovered lunar influenced gender fluid syndrome cause problems ? Lunar influenced transsexuals change gender preference due to the phases of the moon, just as lycanthropes change species. Thus such patients will need to be transferred to different facilities multiple times each month .

  9. So

    If a man prisoner can claim to be a women and the government has to accept this

    If a women prisoner can claim to be a man and the government has to accept this

    Then why can’t both claim to not be a prisoner and walk out of prison?

  10. I get sentenced to cannery for felony-time, I’m ‘transitioning’ to girl, identity-wise. I’d tell the Corrections loafers and parasite shrinks to keep the chemical and surgical drag get-up, but I just feel like a woman so accommodate, bitches.

    Which means transfer me to women’s lock-up where I properly identify.

  11. Getting beaten and raped – in a govt-controlled facility – is bad. But getting beaten and raped while insisting you are not your physical gender is double-plus ungood.

    Maybe the tranny cons aren’t the only mentally unstable in the Big House?

    h/t: Ramon ‘Sally-Can’t Dance’ Martinez

  12. Contrary to the above claim it was neither liberals nor leftists that got Don’t Ask Don’t Tell overturned

    It was a lawsuit by Log Cabin Republicans

    Obama opposed overturning it btw also

  13. DoJ gets all worked up over the wrong things as our system of government implodes.

  14. “Recognizing that the decision is “complicated,” the DOJ guidance says that policies “may also consider an inmate’s security threat level, criminal and disciplinary history, current gender expression, medical and mental health information, vulnerability to sexual victimization, and likelihood of perpetrating abuse. The policy will likely consider facility-specific factors as well, including inmate populations, staffing patterns, and physical layouts. The policy must allow for housing by gender identity when appropriate.” ”

    soooooo, essentially codifying that it’s too complicated to codify?

  15. This is going to be a huge train wreck. But one the plus side think of all the taxpayer money they’ll get to spend.

  16. The Richard Masbruch story alone is enough to illustrate the idiocy of integrating tumblrist gender theory into the U.S. prison system.

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